Author Topic: Clown car job  (Read 3622 times)

Scio5

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Clown car job
« on: June 17, 2015, 10:38:39 PM »
Hello Mustachians! First time posting, so please forgive me if this has been covered already ad nauseam.

I'm young (27) and still far from FI/RE, but I don't know that I can last long at my current job. The partner and I relocated for his job, and I, fresh out of grad school with a hefty $40,000 in student loans, jumped on the first job offer I could get within my major. We live fairly modestly and I kicked ass on my savings - within 2 years I had paid off ALL my loans, we had saved up a down-payment on a house, and I'm on track to max out my HSA and 401(k) and have about $10k sitting in my checking account almost ready for my first Vanguard account. This is starting at $48,000 and getting raises up to just shy of $60,000. I'm pretty proud of what I've saved in just two years.

The catch is that I have a horrible clown car commute of 64 miles. Depending on traffic, that's an hour fifteen to an hour and a half each way. Over the past two years I've only come to loathe my commute more and more. I have the capability to work from home, but despite requests it's reserved for issues like waiting for the plumber, child care issues (although we don't have any, personally), etc. I have the commute so that we can get away with having one car (a used, paid-off 2007 Prius that's up to 166k miles), as the bf can walk to work from our house.

I've been applying for other similar positions closer to where we live (or at least where I can take a train), but no luck. In addition to hating about 3 hours of my day every work day, my work load has been increasing so that I'm also putting in extra hours on top of my commute. Even if that weren't the case, this definitely isn't my forever dream job.

I'm toying with the idea of starting some kind of business, but the bf says that he'd be more comfortable with me waiting to quit my current job until I can reliably earn at least $1,000 a month, which is generally about my half of total housing/food/utilities/other bills. I'm sure there are ways to do that, but after 11-hour days when we aren't busy and all-nighters and working weekends when we are busy, I feel too exhausted and demoralized to do much productive work on my time off. I also have unemployed friends and family members, and know how hard that is. I appreciate the money that this job allowed me to save, but I'm miserable.

Any encouraging words or advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

Alternatepriorities

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Re: Clown car job
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2015, 02:38:29 AM »
Could you agree with you bf on a number of months bills in savings before launching your business rather than an earnings rate? It sounds like you already have 10 months covered if you hold off on opening that Vanguard account. Once you have that saved you're in control at your current job! Politely negotiate for telecommuting most days or leave and start your consulting company. I've found that not needing a paycheck can be as good of a negotiating tool as having another job offer. Also, it completely blows people's minds.

Good luck!

patrickza

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Re: Clown car job
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2015, 03:49:40 AM »
Congratulations, you've done really well so far.

My view: You have 10 months worth of expenses saved up. That commute will take over your life if you let it. How about you make a deal with the bf that you'll keep paying your share of expenses, but want to give yourself 6 months to see if you can build a business up to the $1000 a month level. If you make it, great! If you don't, well it still give you four months to get back into another job.

Sibley

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Re: Clown car job
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2015, 08:29:03 AM »
I have a 3 hours round trip commute (mostly on the train luckily), so I know where you're coming from. Those days are long and exhausting!

Different view here... you have 10 months of expenses saved up. I'd call that FU money, and it gives you power. Not as much as FI of course, but enough to use as leverage. Use it to make arrangements to work from home at least a couple days a week. That would take the edge off the commute if nothing else. They'd have 2 options - allow it, or lose you. If they fire you, great! You'd get unemployment benefits and wouldn't have to touch your savings most likely.

And keep looking for something closer to home, regardless.

Retired To Win

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Re: Clown car job
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2015, 10:16:15 AM »
... I'm toying with the idea of starting some kind of business, but the bf says that he'd be more comfortable with me waiting to quit my current job until I can reliably earn at least $1,000 a month, which is generally about my half of total housing/food/utilities/other bills. I'm sure there are ways to do that, but after 11-hour days when we aren't busy and all-nighters and working weekends when we are busy, I feel too exhausted and demoralized to do much productive work on my time off. I also have unemployed friends and family members, and know how hard that is. I appreciate the money that this job allowed me to save, but I'm miserable...

I would not be too thrilled with my partner telling me what yours has told you.  I can't see where you would get the time or mental energy to build up a new business while doing that killer commute and putting in those long hours on the job.  His expectation is unrealistic and more than a bit insensitive to your mental/emotional situation.

A middle-of-the-road arrangement might be for you to change to a less demanding job closer to home so that you will have more time and energy to start up the business.  And I would also renegotiate your bf's expectations.

Good luck.

meg_shannon

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Re: Clown car job
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2015, 11:56:12 AM »
Your workplace may be more willing to grant a telecommute request if you threaten to quit otherwise.

I agree with others that your boyfriend is being unreasonable. You're shouldering a lot more of the stress in your relationship. Also, how is the chore divide at your house? He should be doing household work while you are commuting so that you can each have a similar amount of downtime when no one is working/commuting. Otherwise, maybe you could move close to your job and he could commute for 3+ years?

StockBeard

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Re: Clown car job
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2015, 04:16:49 PM »
I used to have a 3 hours round trip commute too (train mostly, just like Sibley). You'd be amazed at how much more productive you can be on your side business once you get 2h+ back every day.

I'd say keep looking for a job closer to your place (I assume moving closer to your job is not a good option, since it would just reverse the commute situation with your bf... unless he can find a job closer to yours?)

Scio5

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Re: Clown car job
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2015, 07:49:00 PM »
Thank you for the advice, everyone!

And yes, my bf does all the cooking/dishes and does most of the chores - I come home to dinner on the table every night. He says he doesn't mind being the hausfrau while I'm driving, haha! He also makes about $20,000 more than I do (we split costs proportional to income) and his job is more location-dependent and does not allow working from home under any circumstances (and where we live now has all of our friends and is a walkable small city vs. car clown suburb where I work), so moving closer to my job isn't very appealing.

He's a typical MMM-reading engineer, but he's also very risk averse and likes wide safety margins, so I can understand where his concern is coming from. I generally am very conservative with money too, but this job has me daydreaming about quitting and working half-time at Home Depot instead (think of all the skills I could learn!) or a coffee shop. Positions in the field that I went to school for are thin on the ground closer to home, but at this point since my loans are paid off I'm more than willing to to consider my education a sunk cost and make a lateral career move. However, my new life goal is to be able to walk or bike to work or have no commute at all, so the idea of a home-based, location independent business is very appealing.

I'm also afraid that I'm not giving full weight to considering my future finances. Continuing to slog through, hating my life and not having time for life or friends, but be able to reach FI/RE in the next decade or so, or potentially give up a lot of income and learning potential but probably be happier?

In any case, I think I'm going to go for it, but I'll at least have some semblance of a business plan before I give my telecommute or quit ultimatum. ;)


mozar

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Re: Clown car job
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2015, 04:42:35 PM »
I told my job I wanted to commute one day a week. They were a little annoyed but they said OK. I was really scared to ask. I read the 4 hour work week which gives strategies on how to ask. Like its better to ask for telework on a Wednesday then a Friday. So you don't have to give an ultimatum right away. Start by asking what you want firmly.